How To Prevent Leather Shoes From Cracking, Fading & More.

Leather is a skin, and to keep it’s fresh and shiny look as long as possible, you need to keep it moisturized. The same is the case with Leather shoes.

Dress shoes or leather shoes look well only if they remain in their fresh, shiny and original colored look. Dried leather can wrinkle, crack, become discolored and become more vulnerable to being damaged by water and salt. This can lead to old looking damaged leather shoes.

Regular leather shoe treatment can prevent your dress shoes from cracking, and discoloring, which will result in a good looking, shiny and classy dress shoes. Polishing your leather shoes is a good way to make them look good for a long period of time. Below is a complete guide for you to make your leather shoes last longer.

Required Products For Leather Shoe Care

The following are some common shoe care products you can use to prevent leather shoes from cracking. These products can easily be found at a hardware store, a shoe store, Amazon or a shoe repair shop.

Make sure to use the products made specifically for smooth leather. It is best to visit a near shoe care shop if you are confused if the products are right or not, they will happily clean, polish, and condition your shoes at a price.

Essential Items For DIY Leather Shoe Care

1-A Good Shoe Polish


  • Provides an instant shine to shoes without buffing
  • Nourishes and conditions leather
  • Renews color and increases water resistance

2-A Newspaper

3-A Soft Shoe Brush


4-A Leather Conditioner For Smooth Leather Shoes


  • Leather conditioner cream with real beeswax and plant oils designed to melt when spread on by hand
  • Heavy Duty LP waterproofs and repels acids, petroleum, salt, and chemicals on leather work boots
  • Condition, restore dried and sun-faded leather furniture and leather auto interiors
  • Complete leather care is proven to resist mold/mildew, bacteria, scuffing, stitch tear, cracking

5-A Smooth Leather Shoe Cleaner


Cleaning Process For Leather Shoes

Note: Before you begin to make sure that both you and your work surroundings are completely protected. Layout your newspaper, wear gloves and work in a well-ventilated space. These precautions are essential, as many shoe care products contain toxic chemicals that can be harmful to both humans and furniture.

  • Remove any dirt by cleaning the shoes with the leather cleaner made specifically for smooth leather shoes (saddle soap works well).
  • Use the applicator top to spread the product onto your shoes.
  • Remove the dirt from the shoes using the soft bristle brush especially from cracks.

After the initial cleaning, let your shoes dry before shining them with your chamois or cloth (old t-shirts work great, too).

Conditioning Process for Leather Shoes

Conditioning your leather shoes softens and moisturizes the membrane, protecting it from drying out and cracking.

  • Select a conditioner made for smooth leather shoes. (Note: Natural conditioners absorb straight into the material and are a better choice than synthetic conditioners that sit on top of the shoe’s surface.)
  • Rub a small amount of conditioner onto the shoe until the entire shoe is covered
  • Wait a few minutes, and then wipe any remaining conditioner off of the shoes.
  • The leather will absorb only what it needs for proper hydration.

Protecting Your Leather Shoes

Weatherproofing your leather shoes will protect them from water and other elements that can break down the natural material and shorten the life of your shoes.

Different weatherproofing products serve different purposes, so choose wisely. For example, if you spend time in wet or messy conditions and an attractive finish is of little concern to you, choose a beeswax product over a protective spray.

Beeswax products place a “shield” on the surface of the shoe or boot, instead of it being absorbed into the grain of the leather. This provides a great barrier against water, but applying it on top of subsequent treatments can alter the appearance of your shoes.

If you actually care about the appearance of the shoe or boot, a spray protectant should do the trick without altering the finish.

Our Recommendation:

You should take proper and regular care of your shoes with these types of products.

This type of weatherproofing product is virtually invisible and provides a breathable barrier against mild to moderate wet conditions and dirt. 

Online retailers sell a large variety of waterproofing products, including those for smooth leather, suede, or nubuck.

Additional Tips To Prevent Leather Shoes From Cracking or Damaging

  • If your shoes have layers of polish buildup, use a pre-cleaner before starting your leather shoe treatment.
  • Don’t try to change the color of your shoes with shoe polish. Consult a shoe repair shop for a dye job, if a different shoe color is desired.
  • Remove shoelaces before beginning your leather shoe treatment. Laces can be laundered separately or replaced.
  • Condition new leather shoes, even before you wear them. This will ensure the best protection from the start and will save you time on future cleanings.


Leather shoes usually are the most vulnerable to be damaged by environment etc. factors, if you properly take care of them, there are more chances of them lasting for longer periods retaining their same shiny, smooth look.